Smithers, B.C., September 21, 2023 – Today, the Dze L K’ant Housing Society is pleased to announce a $100,000 donation from West Fraser to support the Society’s Indigenous Housing Project in Smithers, B.C. Recognizing the importance of cultural features to maintain culture across generations, the funds will go towards the creation of a large piece of Indigenous art for the exterior of the new building and the development of a culturally-inspired children’s playground.
“We are incredibly honoured by this generous donation. Our goal is to develop housing that fosters a strong sense of cultural pride and belonging. This donation will allow our organization to work with a local artist to develop a meaningful carving piece for the exterior of the housing as well as unique cultural elements for our playground,” said Annette Morgan, Executive Director, Dze L K’ant Housing Society. “I wish to acknowledge our housing advisor Lydia Howard for her ongoing efforts to ensure this project is a success. The donation speaks to the healing and growth within our community and it will have a lasting positive impact on our residents for many years to come.”
The Dze L K’ant Housing Society’s multi-family, 37-unit Indigenous Housing Project will provide affordable housing for Indigenous families and elders. The project is funded by BC Housing and is being developed in partnership with the Town of Smithers through a long-term lease agreement with the municipality for the parcel of land located at 1611 Main Street.
“As an organization committed to building mutually beneficial relationships with Indigenous governments and organizations in the areas where we operate, we see our support of the Indigenous Housing Project’s cultural features as a meaningful investment into the local community and an important demonstration of our values,” said Dean MacDonald, General Manager, Pacific Inland Resources Division, West Fraser.
Indigenous cultural safety is central to the Dze L K’ant Indigenous Housing Project design which currently includes accessible homes for elders, large homes to accommodate intergenerational living, a cultural amenity space and a community kitchen. The funds from West Fraser will enable the Dze L K’ant Housing Society to further enhance the cultural features of the project.
Construction of the Indigenous Housing Project is expected to begin in March 2024.
About Dze L K’ant Housing Society
In June 2023, the Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre staff and Board of Directors were invited to West Fraser Mill to tour the facility which provided a valuable opportunities for the two organizations to build relationships and learn from one another.
The Dze L K’ant Housing Society was founded in 2019 and is a partner organization to the Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre Society. The Housing Society has been actively working with BC Housing and local municipalities to achieve its goal of developing and operating affordable, culturally safe Indigenous housing for elders, families and individuals in the communities of Smithers, Houston and Telkwa. The Smithers project, funded by BC Housing and supported through a long team lease agreement with the Town of Smithers, will be the Society’s first affordable housing development.
The Dze L K’ant Housing Society is located in Smithers, B.C. on traditional unceded Gidim’ten territory. For more information, visit http://www.dzelkant.com/dze-l-kant-housing-society/.
Annette Morgan, Executive Director, Dze L K’ant Housing Society
Images courtesy of Camus Photography.